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Long Reads Sunday - Issue #51

If I had to pick a single theme that characterized the week, it would be the growing stakes of the ba
Long Reads Sunday - Issue #51
By Nathaniel Whittemore • Issue #51 • View online
If I had to pick a single theme that characterized the week, it would be the growing stakes of the battle of crypto vs. state - of sovereignty versus surveillance. 
One part of that was the new details we got about Libra - the forthcoming Facebook coin. A handful of partners including Uber, Visa and PayPal were officially announced while The Block scooped the rest of the list, which showed huge companies from across industries participating. Many are excited about the new eyes this brings to cryptocurrency, and the potential to bring those folks into the Bitcoin and DeFi folds. At the same time, it feels like it also has the potential to represent a massive uptick in financial surveillance. 
Binance also made news when it announced first, that it would be opening a regulated exchange in the US, and second, that US users would no longer be able to use its main exchange. This was followed quickly thereafter with news that Bittrex US would be delisting something like 40 tokens as well. These moves show a fundamental shift in the way the premier institutions of the token Wild West view the US regulatory regime. 
Of course, state power wasn’t just behind the scenes. Many in the crypto community were closely watching the protests in Hong Kong, where millions of people came out to demonstrate against a proposed extradition bill. Notable were reports of protesters being terrified of using their subway cards for fear of being tracked to the protests, as well as purported attacks on Telegram to try to disrupt coordination. 
I’ll end with a quote from Eric Meltzer’s latest Proof of Work: “…cryptocurrencies are inherently an anti-state technology, and need to be built from the ground up to withstand multi-state attacks. At the moment, very few if any cryptocurrencies meet this bar (although Bitcoin is by far the closest). Naval Ravikant referred to the State as the “final boss” for crypto; I agree with that assessment and think that the boss fight may be coming sooner than people think.”
Happy Fathers Day, and, as always, Happy Long Reads. -NLW

By the one and only Alotta Money -
By the one and only Alotta Money -
Some logistics:
First, if you haven’t caught it yet, we’re in week 3 of a new weekly top 5 video edition of Long Reads Sunday produced in collaboration with @blocktv and coming out the subsequent Monday. Check out last week’s highlights
Second, I’ve started a new daily livestream called 3@3, where every day at 3pm EST I spend three minutes on the three most discussed topics of the previous 24 hours. You can catch previous versions at or
Third, next week is the 1 YEAR ANNIVERSARY of LRS. Keep your eyes peeled for something special.
Long Reads Sunday #51. Oh. My. God. This week. Facebook libra squads up. Binance says Bye Bye miss American pie. Mass delistings. State power resurgent. Meeker snubs. MF’ing Pomp’s MF’ing birthday. Bitcoin doesn’t sleep and neither do I on week’s like this! Strap in, kids, it’s long reads time!
2/ Let’s start with the massive. We’ve been talking about FBcoin nonstop and this week we got official info about the first node partners - Uber, Visa, and PayPal. There was a ton of discussion but @Ben_Munster really captured the attitude here:
3/ But then, like a SCOOPS AI from the future, @fintechfrank swooped in on Friday with the *entire* list of kick off partners for Libra, including investment firms, nonprofits, telcos, e-commerce, travel, music, ride-sharing, and payments.
4/ There is a LOT to unpack here. A good starting point comes from @Melt_Dem, who jumped on @CNBCClosingBell to talk about Facebook Libra and then threaded a summary, including why they’re so interested (hint hint: it’s the data, silly)
5/ The crypto community has *insanely* divergent perspectives on this. On the one hand, there are many who argue that this is going to be a “Netscape moment” for crypto adoption - in other words, a context for people who had dismissed crypto to come back to the fray
6/ On the other, there are just as many who thing it is a total attempt to co-opt the movement for corporate gain. @CharlieShrem straight up calls BS while @bullyesq pins down the massive concern around privacy and panopticons
7/ The reality is, of course, that most people feel a bit of both sides of this, and that in practice, it is likely to have elements of both - a challenging force that runs counter to privacy and data sovereignty while also a massive on ramp for Bitcoin and crypto recruits
8/ Many have made the argument that Libra effectively allows Facebook to perform bank-like functions without dealing with all the messy stuff, causing some to ask whether banks or Facebook are actually trusted more?
9/ Still, without a doubt, the absolutely most quotable tweet on Facebook libra belongs to @SarahJamieLewis. I’m just going to leave this absolute savaging here for you.
10/ One thing is for sure: Libra is going to continue to dominate the conversation. For the sake of never taking it too too seriously, I’m giving the big LRS recommended follow to @LibraReserve
11/ Okay, literally if Facebook was all that was going on, it would be a friggin’ insane week over here in crypto world, but NOPE. We had a big announcement from @Binance that US customers would be kicked TF off its main site starting in September.
12/ Again, different people took different stances on this. One school of thought said simply “Good riddance shitcoin casino.” Another argued that new, compliant Binance would be stronger than ever. @lawmaster was *not* buying it
13/ Others pointed out that this move felt like something long planned, as witnessed by the announcement of both Binance DEX and - a regulated US-based exchange from the company. @cz_binance denied a grand scheme behind it, but only a little
14/ For me, the crazy thing was to see how a country that prides itself on being on the bleeding edge has investors denied from participation in a new global industry and entrepreneurs actively looking elsewhere. Strange narrative times.
15/ @VentureCoinist made this point even more bluntly.
16/ And oh, by the way, it wasn’t just @Binance that suggested there was some writing on the US regulatory wall. On Friday night @BittrexUS also announced the delisting of some ~40 assets for US customers. #NarrativeWatch: Mass delistings.
17/ Numerous voices came to the same conclusion: that these delistings and market withdrawals, taken together, spelled bad news for alts - but potentially good news for BTC and ETH: + // //
18/ In one of the 50+ amazing tweets of what was undeniably the thread of the week, @nic__carter argued vociferously that it is not paradoxical to be glad to be rid of bad tokens & their exchange homes while also being less than enthusiastic about the state power that compels such action
19/ Indeed, state power was not only one of the biggest themes of that thread, but the centerpiece of another discussion @nic__carter started earlier int he week as well
20/ This is hugely relevant context for the Binance and Bittrex actions. It was also a theme echoed by other thinkers this week as well. @wheatpond wrote about it in PoW while @twobitidiot picked up similar themes in Unqualified Opinions
21/ In his piece, @wheatpond concludes with the idea that crypto needs to be prepared to withstand state level attacks. This is exactly the discussion that @bquittem shares here in the context of Bitcoin
22/ It might have been a bit of Binance, and a bit of the Facebook panopticoin potential that got everyone thinking about this, or it might have been on Hong Kong, where protesters against a deportation bill were terrified to use their subway cards for fear of being tracked
23/ Indeed, Hong Kong was an unescapable and essential macro political context for many discussion this week. @TheBlock__ wrote about how one fallout of the political turbulence was wealth moving to Singapore
24/ Bitcoiner and Hong-Konger @LeoAW meanwhile wrote about how to most safely use Telegram during protests and was later interviewed about the situation for the @BitcoinMagazine podcast
25/ My strong feeling is that the discussion of crypto vs the state (i.e. sovereignty vs surveillance) is going to continue to grow. In that, though, there were some also interesting developments on our side of the fight as we met two new technologies attempting to address internet access itself as a venue for state power. 
26/ The first was @helium, which is effectively a peer-to-peer alternative to telcos, powered by a tokenized citizen network of hotspot operators. The company announced $15m from @usv @multicoin and others and @kylesamani explains why they’re so excited
27/ The project is ambitious enough (and well-backed enough) that it also captured the attention of @rhhackett who wrote about it for @FotuneMagazine’s Data Sheet
28/ Interestingly, @helium wasn’t the only ISP related project announced this week. @GoTenna and @GlobalMeshLabs announced a collaboration designed to leverage Lightning to create a mess messaging network that functioned entirely outside of carriers & ISPs
29/ We are clearly entering wild new times on a global level, in which the balance of power is shifting in ways that are at once massive and indeterminate. We are all pushing out in all directions to drive this liminal state to a place of promise. 
30/ It would be easy enough to end there and give you all a chance to go grab your chosen beverage, relax for Father’s Day (or just Sunday Funday) and be done with it. But, nawww, too much happening to stop now. A few more before we wrap. 
31/ Let’s shift our attention to something a little more fun, shall we? @daltonan was at the massive gaming expo E3 this week, and threaded this interesting conversation with one of the world’s biggest game platforms about the state of blockchain gaming
32/ Speaking of blockchain games, @JoyceInNYC and @bennygiang also got together for a really interesting crypto gaming and NFT workshop published by @Globalcoinrsrch
33/ Speaking of NFTs and digital art, @simondlr published a fascinating piece on his experiments with “Patronage as an Asset Class” - which combines a number of areas of research and thinking including NFTs as well as new economic and market models
34/ One more for anyone interested in digital art, @edition1art launched a virtual gallery featuring art from @jbrukh @yelitzardgz @AntheaMcQuoid @juliosmitter @japau283 @osavage17
35/ Jumping over to the realm of governance, the always interesting @ArthurB wrote up some recent thinking around evolvable on-chain treasuries, in part recognizing that certain general update mechanisms may not be suited for every type of capital decision
36/ In everyone’s favorite FUD bucket of Bitcoin energy, another one of the more complexity centric thinkers in the space @mrauchs summed up what he called “the best analysis of Bitcoin’s total electricity consumption” he’s seen
37/ Speaking of FUD, can you believe that Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends 2019 didn’t include a SINGLE SLIDE on crypto or Bitcoin? Luckily for us, we have some of the most incredible data and data crunchers in the world, as this thread shows.
38/ Two interesting nuggets from the US state regulatory realm. First, @Coindesk’s @DanielGKuhn wrote about R.I. exploring blockchain for gov’t use while @propelforward looked at some new definition clarity out of Nevada
39/ @avichal and the team at @ElectricCapital keep up their great research, releasing a massive crypto market map organizing hundreds of different products into useful sub categories
40/ You gotta have expected that news that Italy was proposing taxes on savings hidden in safety deposit boxes was going to bring out the “wait, wtf r u kidding me’s” from all us in the Bitcoin space
41/ In news that basically literally any other week would have been at the very top of the discussion list, @WhiteAdamL announced an *ACTUAL* specific start date (July 22) for initial user acceptance testing of @bakkt Bitcoin futures
42/ And finally, just because 40 threaded links isn’t enough, you absolutely must check out from @dergigi, an absolutely amazing addition to the resource set for absolutely anyone interested in learning more about Bitcoin blockchains and beyond
44/ Phew, we made it. Now, just a couple more announcements on the personal front! 
45/ First, if you haven’t caught it yet, we’re in week 3 of a new weekly top 5 video edition of Long Reads Sunday produced in collaboration with @blocktv and coming out the subsequent Monday. Check out last week’s highlights
46/ Second, I’ve started a new daily livestream called 3@3, where every day at 3pm EST I spend three minutes on the three most discussed topics of the previous 24 hours. You can catch previous versions at, or
47/ Third, next week is the 1 YEAR ANNIVERSARY of LRS. Keep your eyes peeled for something special. 
48/ And lastly, AS always, you can get LRS delivered directly to your inbox every Sunday by signing up here. THANKS AS ALWAYS and HAPPY FATHERS DAY to all the crypto dad’s out there! Have some fun! 
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Nathaniel Whittemore

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